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Gaffer on a Sunday

16 March 2014

Steve Evans talks to www.themillers.co.uk...

Steve Evans was in a positive frame of mind as he arrived at the Millers training ground this morning, he gave his reflective thoughts on yesterday's home draw with Walsall and answered a number of key questions we put to him.

Having had the time what are your thoughts this morning on yesterday's 1 - 1 draw with Walsall?

It was certainly a match we should have won and that was despite us not being anywhere near our best in the first-half. Walsall had two meaningful shots on goal in the entire match and we had enough quality possession in the last third of the pitch to have created more chances.

After five minutes Wes Thomas is brought down in the penalty box after racing on to an Alex Revell header. I thought at the time yesterday it was a penalty and when you watch it back on the DVD it doesn’t change my opinion.

The second-half was much more like us; we got hold of the ball and passed it with some real quality. We switched play from one side to the other quickly and with quality, in turn we created enough chances to have won the match comfortably. I must give credit to Walsall who defended in numbers and at times heroically but had we not got at least an equaliser it would have been a travesty for my lads. 

We are on a fantastic unbeaten run of matches and yet when we don't win we all feel frustrated, simply, our progress in 20 months has been staggering. I must also add the same can be said of our supporters, it is a privilege to serve this Millers support.

Young Nicky Adams came off the bench and made a real impact. Not only did he get our equaliser but he was a real threat every time he had the ball, his career with the Millers is now up and running.

I love the character we have in our squad; they are never ever beaten until the referee blows the final whistle. I look on that pitch late in matches and when I see the likes of Arnason, Morgan, Frecklington, Pringle, Smallwood and a few more then we always will go till the end. In turn I can also look to our bench and see top class players waiting for a chance so we are in great shape going forward.

We have 10 matches left of our standard League One season and we are fighting for a play-off place, what are your thoughts on progress made at this key stage of the season?


There are a few onlookers who have previously said we won't quite make it into the play-offs at the end of the season and that we are not good enough as a team. Let them continue to question our chances because it will not take our focus away from the big task in hand. 

At the end of the season the league table won't lie, it is what is after 46 big matches. Every team has days when it has either gone for you or like yesterday when big decisions go against you but over the season you must as a manager believe it levels itself out.

The fight for a place in the top elite group continues, you try and tell the lads at the likes of MK Dons, Port Vale and Walsall that they are out of it with 10 or so matches left and you are braver than me because those teams are full of good players with good managers too.

As for ourselves we will fight to the end in every match. We will leave no stone unturned in preparation, our supporters will head and kick every ball with us and as I have always said in unity our success will come. 

Back to the present, can you update us on the injuries?

James Tavernier has a minor ankle strain but should train by the middle of the week. Mark Bradley twisted his knee in training on Friday and will be scanned in the morning but we are hopeful it is minor too.

Wes Thomas was feeling his thigh yesterday when he came off but we are again hopeful it could be fatigue after he missed a few weeks out. Again we will know more by tomorrow when it settles down.

Next up is Peterborough United on Saturday; early thoughts on what should be another cracker?

I have seen them on a few occasions recently. They have quality players in every area of the pitch and it will be a tough match for us.

At the start of the season I had them as my favourites to be Champions given the money they spent on transfer fees and also considering the players they kept from their previous season in the Championship.

We will take a great Millers support down the A1 and I would think tickets for the away end could have been sold three times over. Posh also have brilliant supporters and the match is certain to be played in front of a great atmosphere.

We know the importance of winning the match and that is what we will be trying to do. The opposition deserves and as I said will get the highest respect from us. They won easily at MK Dons yesterday and I will watch that DVD tomorrow, after that I will start to think of my team and shape for what is a huge match.

Our next two matches are Peterborough United and Brentford at home on Tuesday week, great matches and big reasons why we fought so hard last year to win promotion from League Two. 

Let us all keep focused on the job in hand, let the doubters continue and as the saying goes, those that laugh last!

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